08/08/2008 12:00AM

Tanika’s main foes are absent


EDMONTON, Alberta – The connections of Tanika could be excused for breathing a sigh of relief when Holy Nova and Lady Raj, the top two mares based at Hastings this summer, stayed at home to contest a pair of stakes last Monday on the rich B.C. Cup Day program.

Lady Raj was upset in the Distaff and Holy Nova was fifth versus male rivals in the Sprint, while Tanika rested comfortably here in Barry Brown’s shed row in anticipation of Sunday’s Madamoiselle.

Tanika faces just five rivals in the 1 1/16-mile Madamoiselle, none with the credentials of Lady Raj or Holy Nova, and will be heavily favored to grab the major share of the $50,000 purse.

A model of consistency this year, Tanika has won three stakes and finished second twice, including her defeat to Holy Nova last out in the John Patrick Handicap. The 123-pound highweight, Tanika concedes plenty of weight to each of her foes, but if she produces anything resembling her usual effort, this edition of the Madamoiselle belongs to the small but game daughter of Orientate.

Napa and Destiny’s Home did make the trek from Vancouver but would need to elevate their games to threaten Tanika on Sunday afternoon.

Napa was second to Holy Nova in her 2008 debut, but has tailed off in subsequent races. Destiny’s Home makes her stakes debut after testing allowance company without success.